Efforts are afoot to make North American (ice) hockey more diverse. Apparently it’s too white. I am not aware of any similar efforts being made in water polo or swimming or in chess for that matter. Nor am I ware of any complaints that American basketball and football and, say, athletic sprinting are disproportionately too black.
Thankfully, sport is not a likely candidate for affirmative action. Nor is chess. The reason is clear. Everything is in the open. Incompetence, inadequacy, inferior performances can’t be hidden. They are overtly penalised.
Take top hockey teams. They all want desperately to win the Stanley Cup – the championship trophy awarded annually to the National Hockey League winner. Don’t tell me they would reject a player who would make a difference whatever his colour. It might be that the bodily physiology of white North Americans is more suited to hockey, as the bodily physiology of black North Americans is more suited to basketball. In any event, it seems to me that the call for diversity is a one-way street.
I support Liverpool Football Team. When they were kneeling before each match last year in some misbegotten homage to Black Lives Matter, the commentators invariable said that it was to symbolise opposition to racism inside and outside the sport. But most of the Liverpool players were black or of colour. Each earning at least £100,000 a week. Egyptian player Mo Salah, £350,000 a week. Doesn’t smack of racism or discrimination to me. I’m not too sure, by the way, what the cut-off point is between black and of colour. I say ‘of colour’, because you can’t say coloured for some reason, though you can say black and white.
How is there racism in English football, I ponder, when most of the players are non-white? I watched the World Cup Final. The Washington Post (WP) in an op-ed lamented the absence of black players in the Argentinian team. While they corrected this piece when they discovered that only one percent of the Argentinian population was black, the bias is evident. They didn’t lament the fact that the Senegalese team had no whites or Asians, or Eskimos (pardon me Inuit).
During the second period of extra time in the World Cup Final, I couldn’t help but notice that all ten of the French outfield players were black. Only the goalkeeper was white. Now, I know that each of these players was there on their merits. So be it, in my view. That’s France today; lots of black people and, presumably (?), the ethnic French, on the whole, are not that good at football. At the same time, the news media didn’t appear to notice at all the hue of the French team. They were selectively colour blind on this occasion. The only sound from the WP was deafening silence.